Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Is the UN More Legitimate than the US?

It is 9-11 today, which lead the United States to attack Afghanistan and Iraq. There has been widespread criticism to American strike against Iraq, because it is not approved by the UN Security Council. But I must ask this question. Is the United Nations more trustworthy than the United States? In addition, I have to mention that the United Nations is in no position of supervising any sovereign states. It is an independent nation, particularly a liberal democracy that can make a decision for world peace.

Then, why do people regard the United Nations as the anchor of peace and stability of the world? Its decision making system is not clear, and far from accountable. Rogue states and failed nations are involved in this process. There are no organizations to check and balance elitist bureaucrats. Their inefficiency and corruption are too well known. More importantly, while close ties between the United Nations and the global civil societies are supposed to make global governance democratic, this dark connection marginalizes the public throughout the world. There is no reason to rely on UN mandates when it is necessary to defeat grave threats like Saddam Hussein and other axis of evil.

Despite some drawbacks as I mentioned above, the United Nations is expected to play the key role to assure multilateral diplomacy successful. Robert Kagan summarizes European view to US-UN relations as the following.

From the European perspective, the United States may be a relatively benign hegemon, but insofar as its actions delay the arrival of a world order more conductive to weaker powers, it is objectively dangerous. This is one reason why in recent years a principal objective of European foreign policy has become, as one of European observer puts it, the “multilateralising” of the United States. It is why Europeans insist that the United States act only with the approval of the UN Security Council. (Of Paradise and Power, p. 40; Originally from “Unilateral America, Light Weight Europe”, working paper, Centre for European Reform, February 2001 by Steven Everts)

In reality, foreign intervention without UN approval has been necessary to maintain a peaceful world order. In Kosovo, NATO started bombing on March 24 in 1999, without approval of the UN Security Council. Britain intervened to Sierra Leone unilaterally in 2000. Thanks to successful mission, Tony Blair “Gets Hero’s Welcome in Sierra Leone” (Christian Science Monitor, June 1, 2007) on his final trip as the prime minister. It is utterly strange that global public opinion is extremely critical to US attack against Saddam Hussein. Quite interestingly, some antiwar global civil societies courted the United States to intervene into Myanmar and Liberia right after the overthrow of the Ba’athist regime in Iraq. What are they?

Actually, the United Nations and the global civil societies do not necessarily act on behalf of universal humanitarianism. It is quite well known that UN bureaucracy and multinational NGOs constitute an exclusive circle for decision making. Also, they cloud out local civil societies quite often. The UN-multinational NGO axis lacks accountability to the global public.

Dark connections between the United Nations and multinational NGOs nurture dreadful corruption. Joseph Lonconte and Nile Gardiner, Research Fellows at the Heritage Foundation, describes UN-NGO relations as the following.

Indeed, most of the U.N.’s favorite NGOs would use international rulings to overturn democratic protections in their home countries. The U.N.’s vision of civil society, in other words, is a penumbra of activist groups that simply endorse its agenda of centralized economies, large welfare states, and massive social engineering. Indeed, most of the U.N.’s favorite NGOs would use international rulings to overturn democratic protections in their home countries. The U.N.’s vision of civil society, in other words, is a penumbra of activist groups that simply endorse its agenda of centralized economies, large welfare states, and massive social engineering. (“Human Rights Failure”, National Review Online; September 28, 2005)

Also, they criticize sex scandals in Sudan and West Africa by UN and NGO staff.

Furthermore, the Oil for Food scandal symbolizes corruption of UN bureaucratic system. (“Oil for Food Scandal Draws Scrutiny to UN”, Fox News, September 20, 2004)

The veto of Russia and China at the Security Council, which blocks efficient decision making, makes UN incompetence even more serious.

Leading liberal democracies, notably the United States, Britain, and NATO can act more quickly and effectively to curb imminent threats than the United Nations. NATO will be globalized when Japan and Australia join. Then, UN mandates will be less important for international security.